Fish in a Tree
By: Lynda Mullay Hunt
Genre: Fiction – Realistic
Published: Nancy Paulsen Books – New York, NY, February 5th, 2015
Awards: Schneider Family Book Award, Middle School Winner – 2016 and a New York Times Best Seller
Themes: This novel explores the realities of middle school from a perspective that many are not familiar with – disability. Through the eyes of a 6th grade girl, Ally, who has dyslexia, the novel discusses and conveys the theme of overcoming disability, hope in that venture, and the friendship that is developed along the way.
Summary: As Ally navigates through school she has been able to fool a tremendous amount of people – students and teachers alike. No one knows that Ally can not read, except for Mr. Daniels, the new teacher that comes to teach Ally’s class. Ally extremely unwilling to ask for help from anyone as she battles her disability, lack of friendship, and bullying – all while having Mr. Daniels attempt to reach out to her unlike any other teach has before. As Ally learns more and more about herself, and learning to accept what she brings to the world, she slowly starts to teach the same principles to a very important person in her life.
Response: What values were conveyed through this book? How were these values or social views conveyed to the reader?
The values conveys through out this book are that of accepting the differences in people. From disability, interest, and even intelligence hunt describes the struggles of fitting in and finding your niche in a school setting. As she unites three very diverse characters into a supportive and loving friendship, she conveys the acceptance of differences and the ability to overcome them. As well, she discusses and shows the aspect of true friendship – as those three very different souls meet each other, become inseparable, and are they to support each other in a way that they never could have imagined. Hunt instills the aspect that being different is okay, and that having a disability does not limit you in your inabilities to be good person.
“Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”